News & Politics

Check Out the Cute, Colorful Cars East Germans Drove Instead of the Volkswagen Beetle

Trabants took over downtown DC this past weekend.

The Trabant Rally took place at the International Spy Museum over the weekend to mark the 28th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. All photographs by Nehal Aggarwal.

Various photographers and pedestrians stopped by 9th and F streets, Northwest, on Saturday morning, curious about the strange display of vintage cars lining the street. The cars, known as Trabants, were manufactured in communist East Germany from 1957 to 1991. To commemorate the fall of the Berlin Wall, the International Spy Museum hosted its 11th annual Parade of Trabants, welcoming 20 cars and their owners. The event gave passersby the chance to learn about East German history, listen to musicians dressed in traditional German garb, and observe the inner workings of the cars. Few Trabants are left on the roads of Germany and only about 200 remain in the US.

Michael Leggett plays the accordion for eventgoers while dressed in tracht, a traditional Bavarian outfit.

Father Kevin Mueller bought his Trabant from a man who brought the car to the US in separate pieces.

Editorial Fellow

Nehal joined Washingtonian as an editorial fellow in fall 2017. She enjoys all things food, arts, culture, and health and is always looking out for new trends. This past May she graduated from Johns Hopkins with a degree in creative writing and a minor in photography. She lives in Foggy Bottom.